Peter describes his character in David Williamson’s Let the Sunshine as “loud, brash, ugly, but charming”. We caught up with Peter to find out more about this comedy/drama.
With a career spanning over 30 years in many TV, film and theatre roles, what has been your favourite performance or role to date?
Whenever I am asked that, I always say my favourite role is the fact that I am still employed after 30 years – which is always a good thing for an Australian actor to be able to say!
The six years and eight seasons of Stingers is one of the highlights, because it was just a great character to play; and I met my partner and we had our first child in Melbourne at that time. Lots of good things happened during that time. It was a great part and great people, great scripts, and it just all came together.
You’ve worked in front of the camera and in front of live audiences many times. Have you found as an actor it has given you good balance to do both?
It is a good balance. It’s sort of like any trade or profession – there are ways of honing your craft, and doing live theatre does that; it gets you back to what it’s all about really.
The discipline of getting this performance up every night, or in the day if it is a matinee as well; it really does sharpen the tools.
You will be performing in Let the Sunshine here at the Glasshouse in May. What is the synopsis of the show?
It is about two couples who meet up; one guy is a left wing documentary maker, who is in a little strife with his film. I play a very wealthy Queensland property developer.
What was it like playing him?
It’s great, as it is so different to what I know myself. First of all, being rich – and being a right wing, white shoe brigade Queensland property developer is very different to my own experience. It is something very different to myself and was fun to play.
He is kinda loud and brash and ugly – but charming. And our respective wives are old school friends, and we all meet up and the drama ensues when our respective offspring get together.
How far and wide are you touring?
We are doing every state, in 60 theatres in 6 months. It is a very extensive tour, and we are seeing a lot of the country. We are all getting along, the actors and the crew – we have a couple of cars and truck that we travel with. We are kinda like gypsies. What will audiences love about the show?
They love it! We are doing meet and greets after the show, and it is really resonating with them that they ‘know’ these people … and David Williamson writes like that; it’s very close to their own experiences. I get people all the time after the show who say: “I know that person” or, “That’s my ex-husband you’re playing – he’s a wa**er”.
Do you think it will resonate more so with audiences in towns like Port Macquarie, as we are a ‘sea change’ destination?
Yeah, I think it will. It will really resonate there.
Being that we (the show) are set in a coastal setting, like Noosa, so it is not too dissimilar than the development that would be going on in Port Macquarie.
You have worked with David Williamson before. How did you land this gig?
I was offered the role, and after I read the script I accepted; I really wanted to play this role.
What else are you working on at present?
I am writing my own television pilot for a drama/comedy that will hopefully be picked up by someone soon. I am having meetings for that at present.
So yeah, just generating my own things, and it’s the first one I am going to direct in, not act in.
How do you balance work commitments as well as being a father?
I have a wonderful wife! She works as well, and we kinda juggle it. And I make sure I am not away for more than a month at a time; I make sure I go home, or they come to me.
See Peter Phelps in Let the Sunshine live at The Glasshouse Friday 25 May or Saturday 26 May at 8pm.
Tickets $39.90 adult, $36.90 concession and groups 6+, $30.90 under 21/student.
Contact 6581 8888 for tickets or buy online at glasshouse.org.au
This story was published in issue 78 of Port Macquarie Focus